MORE than half of Oxford's 48 councillors have been criticised for not attending the city's annual Remembrance Sunday service.

Twenty five councillors failed to show up at the parade in St Giles on Sunday - and just eight sent their apologies.

Among those absent were council leader John Goddard and his deputy David Rundle. Green group leader Craig Simmons and Independent Working Class Association chief Stuart Craft were also missing.

Last night Col Chris Keeble, from Longworth near Abingdon, acting commander of 2 Para during the Falklands conflict in 1982, said they had "condemned themselves".

And veteran Ken Bampton, 69, who served with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Regiment during the Second World War, called it a disgrace.

Col Keeble, a devout Christian who was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for negotiating the surrender of the Argentinians at the Battle of Goose Green, said: "I fought for the freedom for people to have the ability to choose to turn up or not.

"If they wish to make such a choice, they should support the people who give them the right not to turn up. I can't condemn them, but they condemn themselves - they are not sending a good example to the rest of us."

Oxford Lord Mayor John Tanner made this year's service a multi-faith occasion and representatives from the city's Jewish, Sikh and Hindu paid their respects.

Royal British Legion member Mr Bampton, of Wolvercote, said: "We live in a free land because of the people who gave their lives. If they (the councillors) can't remember them for two minutes a year, it's a pretty poor show."

Joining Mr Tanner for the service were Deputy Lord Mayor Stephen Tall and Sheriff Mary Clarkson. City council chief executive Peter Sloman was joined by his wife Fiona.

There is no requirement upon councillors to attend the service, but those who cannot are expected to send their apologies.

Antonia Bance, Sushila Dhall, John Goddard, Shah Jahan Khan, Sid Phelps, Patrick Murray, David Rundle and Chris Scanlan did so.

Mr Goddard said: "I was out of Oxfordshire visiting friends, but remembered Remembrance Day."

Mr Rundle said: "I was out of Oxford visiting my parents."

Mr Craft added: "I am a committed anti-fascist and it's an important day, but it's not about proving to others you are remembering, it's about remembering."


  • Oscar Van Nooijen (Lab)
  • Mohammed Abbasi (Lab)
  • Sabir-Hussain Mirza (Lab)
  • Joe McManners (Lab)
  • Antonia Bance (Lab)
  • Saj Malik (Lab)
  • Shah Jahan Khan (Lab)
  • Clark Brundin (Lib Dem)
  • Alan Armitage (Lib Dem)
  • John Goddard (Lib Dem)
  • Sue Roaf (Lib Dem)
  • Chris Scanlan (Lib Dem)
  • David Rundle (Lib Dem)
  • Patrick Murray (Lib Dem)
  • Caroline Van Zyl (Lib Dem)
  • Claire Kent (IWCA)
  • Lee Cole (IWCA)
  • Stuart Craft (IWCA)
  • Nuala Young (Grn)
  • Elise Benjamin (Green)
  • Sushila Dhall (Grn)
  • Matthew Sellwood (Grn)
  • Sid Phelps (Green)
  • Craig Simmons (Grn)
  • Mary-Jane Sareva (Grn)